2016 marks 30 years since the original Legend of Zelda was released in Japan. While the game did take some time to get localized for North America and Europe, Nintendo likes to celebrate anniversaries based on their original release date, which means that here at Nintendo Inquirer we’ll be celebrating the 30th anniversary this year as well, dubbing it the Year of Zelda.
But what’s in store for the Year of Zelda? Well, from Nintendo Inquirer, you can expect features, reviews, and retrospectives among other articles covering the entire franchise’s history. We’re looking forward to providing a lot of Zelda coverage, but even more importantly, we’re looking forward to the possibilities in store from Zelda’s creators themselves. If we know one thing, it’s that history has a tendency to repeat itself, and if that’s the case, we can expect quite a lot from Nintendo this year.
Zelda’s 25th anniversary took place throughout the year of 2011, and Nintendo did everything it could to make sure that people knew. If we use it as a guideline, we’ll be in for quite a year.
The first thing on the long list of Zelda’s 25th anniversary celebrations was their initial announcement during Nintendo’s 2011 E3 conference, which started with a special orchestrated tribute to the series and a trailer for Skyward Sword. As we’ve just entered the new year, it comes as no surprise that we’ve heard nothing about the 30th anniversary just yet, and, if the 25th is anything to go by, we won’t until E3 2016 in just a couple of months. That’s fair, considering Nintendo will need time to set the stage for the anniversary. Hopefully this means we’ll be getting at least one new, proper trailer for Zelda U during the event, provided the game hasn’t come out before then.
The next celebrations on Nintendo’s list were the Zelda Symphony concerts, a 25th anniversary website, and a variety of “25 Years…” videos. It’s doubtful that Nintendo will just copy and paste everything from the 25th anniversary for the 30th, so chances are we’ll see entirely new events and videos this time around, but it is clear regardless that Nintendo takes their anniversaries very seriously, and that the potential variety of celebrations is huge. That being said, I don’t think a 30th anniversary website is out of the question, and Eiji Aonuma has stated that a 30th anniversary concert isn’t impossible, though not in the works currently.
Of course, everything that happens during the 30th anniversary will be overshadowed by the release of the Legend of Zelda for Wii U, which draws parallels to the release of Skyward Sword at the end of the 25th anniversary. Skyward Sword was the last main game of the franchise released on a home console, and along with its standard release we saw a special edition including the 25th anniversary soundtrack as well as a gold Wii Remote Plus. Going by Nintendo’s recent history, you can almost guarantee there will be a special edition released for Zelda U as well, and I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t include at least one amiibo (most likely of Link and Zelda, or possibly Link and a companion we’re unaware of at this time.) Judging from what we know about the game, we might also see a physical world map packed into the special edition (if not included with all standard editions of the game). and potentially a poster or lithograph with unique art commemorating either the game itself or the 30th anniversary of the franchise.
2011 saw a few other Zelda game releases, and the same is already ringing true for 2016. Twilight Princess HD is being released in just two months on March 4th (March 10th in Japan), with a special edition of its own featuring the Wolf Link amiibo, the first unique figure representing the Zelda franchise outside of the Super Smash Bros. line. Additionally, that same month on March 25th, North America will be getting Hyrule Warriors Legends, the 3DS port of the Wii U original with tons of new content on top of what was already there. Japan is getting the game this month on January 21st. Lastly, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine we’ll see one or two Virtual Console releases as well, although at this point most of the classic titles are already covered.
As far as merchandise goes, Club Nintendo no longer exists the way it did during the 25th anniversary, meaning rewards such as the posters that were made available during 2011 may not happen again, unless it remains a feature of Nintendo’s upcoming reward system replacement. In 2011 we also saw the release of a beautiful, limited edition standard size 3DS commemorating the franchise (pictured below), and though we’re unlikely to see yet another Zelda themed 3DS any time soon (there were already two in 2015), I have a strong feeling we’ll see a very special, limited edition Zelda Wii U bundle sometime this year. Depending on the release date of Zelda U, this could either be paired with that game, Twilight Princess HD, or possibly even both. There will also, no doubt, be 30th anniversary merchandise available at the newly revamped Nintendo NY store. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see anything like Hyrule Historia this year, as there hasn’t been a significant amount of new Zelda games since its original release in 2011.
Of course, all of this is pure speculation. 25 years was a big deal because it’s a quarter of a century, and it’s hard to tell whether or not Nintendo considers 30 just as important, although there were some celebrations for Super Mario Bros. last year. There’s been little to no talk or information about the Zelda’s anniversary yet, and while we hope there’s a big year of celebrations ahead, there’s no way to confirm it. In fact, Aonuma has stated that although he hopes something takes form for the 30th anniversary, the production and completion of the already delayed Zelda U is their main and only priority right now. And understandably so!
Whatever the case may be, stick around while we celebrate our own Year of Zelda and keep you up to date on everything Zelda-related during 2016! And to get an idea of what happened in 2011, check out the videos below!
25th Anniversary Videos:
“25 Years…” Videos
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